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Samantha Maiden wins 2021 Our Watch Award administered by the Walkley Foundation

June 16, 2021 / Our Watch media team

Samantha Maiden has been announced as the winner of the 2021 Our Watch Award, administered by the Walkley Foundation, for her series of reports for news.com.au on Brittany Higgins’ allegation that she was raped at Parliament House.

Winner: 2021 Our Watch Award 

Administered by the Walkley Foundation  

Samantha Maidennews.com.au, “Young staffer Brittany Higgins says she was raped at Parliament House” “Parliament office ‘steam cleaned’ after alleged attack” and “Minister Michaelia Cash’s voicemail message to Brittany Higgins 

Maiden’s win was announced at the Walkley Foundation’s Mid-Year Celebration of Journalism in Sydney this evening.  

The judges said: “Samantha Maiden’s work fulfilled the extensive criteria for the Our Watch awards and showed enterprise, tenacity and compassion while displaying her customary mastery of reporting on the political process. This led to a number of reviews at Parliament House, which have the potential to improve safety for women in politics.”

Our Watch CEO Patty Kinnersly said the exceptional quality of stories submitted by finalists reflected a year of impressive work from journalists who had done so much to bring the issue of violence against women to public and political attention, and to keep it there.  

“Samantha Maiden showed great courage and skill in telling a story that would ignite our nation and spark further momentum towards gender equality and an end to violence against women, while building trust with and upholding the dignity of Brittany Higgins at all times,” Ms Kinnersly said. 

The judges also acknowledge the high standard of the two other finalists: 

The judging panel comprised: 

  • Jenna Price, UTS and The Sydney Morning Herald  
  • Nour Haydar, ABC  
  • Maddison Connaughton, The Saturday Paper  

Walkley Foundation chief executive Louisa Graham said: “This year’s Our Watch Award-winning stories go to the heart of the challenges we face as a nation. We’re proud to administer this award on behalf of Our Watch, shining a light on ethical, best-practice journalism that has a real impact on Australians.” 

Samantha Maiden was awarded her trophy alongside all the winners in the Walkley Foundation’s 2021 Mid-Year Celebration of Journalism. Peer-judged and selected on the basis of journalistic excellence, the Mid-Year Celebration suite includes the Walkley Young Australian Journalist of the Year Awards, June Andrews Award for Industrial Relations Reporting, June Andrews Award for Freelance Journalist of the Year, June Andrews Award for Women’s Leadership in Media, Our Watch Award, Media Diversity Australia Award, Humanitarian Storytelling Award, June Andrews Award for Arts Journalism and The Pascall Prize for Arts Criticism. 

Our Watch has been recognising and rewarding excellence in reporting on violence against women and children since 2013, initially through the Our Watch Awards – administered by the Walkley Foundation – and from 2019 onwards through the Our Watch Award at the Walkley Mid-Year Celebration. 

 The objective of Our Watch’s ongoing work with the Walkley Foundation is to improve the quality of reporting on violence against women and their children by building awareness of gender inequality as setting the underlying context for this violence. 

Find Our Watch reporting guides here.

Media contact

Laurelle Keough, Media and Communications Manager (laurelle.keough@ourwatch.org.au / 0425 701 801) or media@ourwatch.org.au.

*If you cover this story, or any story regarding violence against women and children, please include the following tagline:

“If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault, family or domestic violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit www.1800RESPECT.org.au. In an emergency, call 000.”

To access guides for reporting about violence against women and their children, visit Media Making Change.

About Our Watch

Our Watch is a national leader in Australia’s work to stop violence against women and their children before it starts. The organisation was created to drive nation-wide change in the structures, norms and practices that lead to violence against women and children.